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Gen Z believes schools are failing to provide vital digital skills

A recent report from Dell Technologies has revealed that Gen Z is less than satisfied with the digital skills being taught at schools. Many are taking it upon themselves to learn independently for specialist careers. 

The self-proclaimed digital natives feel underequipped to thrive in a world increasingly turning to tech. Work that one out. 

Gen Z is coming of age in turbulent times. We’ve emerged from the pandemic as statistically the ‘loneliest generation’ on record and are forced to contend with a cost-of-living crisis, and the worsening impacts of climate change. Some inheritance, that. 

The issues impacting our present and future aren’t completely of an existential nature, however. There is a pressing, more immediate fear that we’re being left without the necessary skills to succeed professionally as the job market becomes increasingly entwined with tech. 

This summation arrives courtesy of Dell Technologies, which conducted a survey of over 15,000 Zers from 15 different countries. The questions centred on how students believe governments can build resilient economies, the role of tech in solving global problems, and probed for any shortcomings within education. 

It’s no secret that Gen Z generally prefers a flexible work environment, meaning weeks comprised of both days in the office and working from home. This preference was echoed by a third of responders in the survey as a rare positive to emerge from national lockdowns. 

What caught us somewhat off guard, was that 44% of participants claimed to have only been taught basic computer skills, while one in ten bemoaned having never being taught anything tech related at school. 

Another 44% stated businesses need to work more closely with the public sector – particularly education – to facilitate our hunger for learning and developing specialist technological skillsets. Quick research into the market shows that this makes complete sense. 

The demand for digital articulacy is constantly rising, as shown in a recent report by the World Economic Forum. Of some 400 million job postings published online in the last 10 years, between 6% and 12% have demanded a tech savvy skillset as custom. That figure is growing every year. 

Speaking on the Dell report, UK company director Dan Grant declared: ‘It’s clear that Gen Z sees technology as pivotal for their future prosperity. It is now up to us, leading technology providers, governments, and the public sector to work together and set them up for success by improving the quality and access to digital learning’. 

Unwilling to rely on flimsy promises, 36% of those involved have either already started to upskill privately or are planning to start soon. As previously mentioned, cost-of-living is no joke right now. 

This marries up with previous studies suggesting nearly half of our entire generation is already engaged in a side-hustle. A consensus appears to be growing that the paradigm has shifted from one of opportunity to necessity. 

With almost 62% of us expressing a desire to start our own business one day, it seems entrepreneurship could soon trump the corporate world – where Gen Z is concerned, at least.